Three Types of Goldfish - Not All Are Appropriate For Your Pond

Fish are broken into three different groups when it comes to ponds and water gardens. Some fish are appropriate for water gardens, but some are not and are better left in a protected aquarium environment. Group 1 includes comets, Group 2, fancy goldfish, and Group 3, very fancy goldfish. Those in Groups I and 2 can easily be transferred to and enjoyed in your water garden. Group 3 cannot, and I’ll explain why in a moment. All of these fish in the three groups are of the species Carassius Auratus, and could possibly interbreed if left uncontrolled.

Comets (what most people call Common Goldfish) are good fish for your pond. Over time, they can grow too large for many aquariums (12″ or more), but you can see them better (from the side) than you can from the top in a pond. FYI - comets can live 20 years with proper care, and some have been documented to live to be over 70 years old!

Shubunkins are also comets, but are multi-colored. Both shubunkins and comets adapt to a pond nicely in moderate temperatures, and will over-winter just fine if you have a deep pond (at least 18″-24″) for them to hibernate in.

The best pond for goldfish is at least 50 gallons, has good water circulation and aeration, and is not heated because these are coolwater fish. We have goldfish in our small tropical pond which is heated year-round, but the water temperature seldom gets above the mid-70’s.

Feed the fish floating food designed for goldfish, not tropical fish. Flakes or pellets do just fine. The fish also like worms and the usual treats you give them in the aquarium. Goldfish are not “bottom-feeders” like some fish, but they eat from all areas of the pond.

To wrap up, Group 1 Goldfish, comets, shubunkins and koi all co-exist very well together. The koi will tend to grow faster, but usually don’t bother the goldfish. If you intend to breed either fish, however, you must separate them so the eggs have a better chance of hatching. All fish will eat eggs, their own or others, so you also need to provide some areas with protection for the eggs to grow and hatch. If you don’t want more fish, then don’t worry about it.

Group 2, the fancy goldfish, include orandas, fantails, black moors, and telescopes. They are also good fish for coolwater aquariums and ponds, but don’t co-exist well with comets and shubunkins. Group I fish swim faster than Group 2 fish, are more aggressive, eat most of the food, and tend to nip and bully the smaller fancies.

Ponds for Group 2 fish should be at least 30 gallons, with well-circulated and aerated water and no heater. They tolerate water in the 35-75 degree F range well, but prefer about 65 degrees F. As with all fish, expose them to the pond gradually, letting the temperature change slowly.

Fancies less than 3″ in length should be fed floating flake food at least twice a day. Larger fish over 3″ in length can be fed the floating pellets other fish eat. All food should be designed for goldfish, not tropical fish. Overall growth can be 8″ or more, and these fish can also live 20 years or longer.

Finally, Group 3 goldfish are the very fancy fish, including bubble eyes, celestials and lionheads. They will survive in a pond like the other groups, but ONLY if grown by themselves, and not mixed with the others. Personally, if I had very fancy goldfish, I wouldn’t think of putting them outside in a pond. They are just too unusual, and too pretty, to enjoy overhead in a pond. Plus, they are usually more expensive and a little more difficult to acquire than the others.

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